Following up from a previous post here, I wanted to talk a bit more about the experience of being on the Disney Cruise Line starting with our room.
As this was our first ever cruise we decided to spend a bit more and treat ourselves to a verandah cabin. This meant that we had a little balcony with some seats and table. It was our own personal space to sit and watch the sunset or watch the ocean roll on by, even if just for 5 minutes before we dashed off to the next entertainment event. We made sure to pick a room on the starboard side so that when in Castaway Cay we had a great view out over the beach. You get Ghirardelli chocolates as part of the turndown service every night along with some brilliant towel animals. If/when I next go on a Disney Cruise I think I’d book the same cabin type again.
We didn’t have very long on the ship, it was a 4 night cruise, and the time flew by. We barely scratched the surface of what was available. That being said, we gave it a good go. The first thing to talk about is the spa. It’s called Senses Spa and is in the adult only section of the ship. We had some onboard credit and used this to purchase a pass for the length of our cruise. Next time we are on a cruise we will skip this. We only actually used the spa twice, once for a pre-booked treatment and one other morning for use of the rest of the facilities. They only sell a certain amount of passes but the time we did go it wasn’t exactly quiet and we had to wait to get into one of the jacuzzis. That being said, once in there it was lovely. The bubbles soothe your muscles and your view is looking out over bluest Bahamian seas. Our treatment was nice, we booked a couples massage which was great but they do try and constantly up sell you on everything.
The food was good. Remember you have already paid for this so don’t feel bad going back for seconds or even thirds at the buffets or the sit-down restaurants. I knew that as part of the dining experience they sit you at a table with others but we kinda wanted to make this a bit special so requested ahead to have a table to ourselves which was honoured. Disney has rotational dining which is great, it took the stress out of deciding where to eat each night. When you get your Key to the World card at check-in this has your dining times and restaurants on it so you know where to be each night. We ended up eating in Animators Palette twice but that doesn’t mean it was the same food, one of those nights was Pirates Night and the food was themed to this. What I also loved was that your servers changed restaurants each night with you. This meant they knew what you liked and could make recommendations. In my case, they knew my drinks order and literally as soon as I sat down it was ready. Our server Nova was amazing, she went out of her way to make each night special, be that either with a doodle on the table cloth or making a paper rose for my husband to present to me. They work so hard but remember all the small details, it amazed me. For example on the second day at breakfast Nova was working and she instantly recognised me and asked how I was before asking where my husband was, by name. I mean, think how many people she meets and serves on this ship..all the staff we came across were of equal calibre though. It was another level of customer service.
Your breakfast and lunch were also included and although you can go to the restaurants for these we usually ended up eating the buffet at Cabanas or at Flos cafe. The food at both of these was okay, its more what you would expect in a theme park but I enjoyed it and Cabanas has a lot of choice to please even the fussiest of eaters. Also make sure to check out Venellopes for an ice-cream. I know this sounds ridiculous because theres free soft serve available but the ice-cream in this place is unreal and it really didn’t cost very much. We didn’t try it until our last day which is in some ways a blessing because I could have spent a small fortune in there eating my weight in ice-cream!
What really made this such an enjoyable cruise as I mentioned above were the staff otherwise known as Castmembers in the Disney bubble. The entertainment staff worked so hard, especially on the days at sea where they had to entertain around 4000 people. One of our favourite entertainers was called Tony, otherwise known as #tonyfromspain. He was amazing and friendly and had everyone in stitches whether he was presenting his game show on the stage or just hosting a small quiz. Taking of quizzes, there are so many on the ship and they are such good fun. Do not be fooled though into thinking they are easy, they are anything but and they are incredibly popular. You do win little prizes though such as medals, keyrings and luggage tags and we walked away with a few of these which are great souvenirs.
One of our favourite things to do each morning, other than sitting out on our verandah was to watch the morning show with Jimmy the cruise director and the assistant cruise director. They basically set out what was due to happen that day but it was mostly unscripted and just a lot of fun. Make sure to tune in for a good laugh first thing.
Jimmy also made an appearance most nights in the theatre before the show. These shows were amazing and could easily have been on Broadway, there were some originals along with classics like Beauty and the Beast. I really enjoyed these and we made sure to get to the theatre early every night to get good seats. There are two shows a night to fit in around dining so you are always sure to see the shows. On our second to last night there was a bit of a delay with the show starting but the dining rooms were made aware so there was no rushing around or panicking about missing dinner times.
On our last night, they had a Premi-ears at Sea which we were ridiculously excited about because it was Avengers End Game and we wouldn’t have had a chance to watch this again for several days afterwards once back in the UK. It turned out in the end that we were some of the first to watch it in the US as they got permission to start it at 10:30 pm. Watching this in an American theatre was an experience…I really want to see the film again so I can hear all the bits I missed due to the whooping and cheering from the rest of the audience.
One of the nights was designated Pirates night, because you are in the Caribbean. I mean it would be a missed opportunity for Disney otherwise wouldn’t it? They had a couple of really fun shows during this night, Mickey as a pirate was one of the cutest things I’ve seen. This is also the night where they set fireworks off. Yes, thats right. Fireworks at sea. It was such a fun night. They give everyone a pirate bandana in their room beforehand and fancy dress is highly encouraged. All the extra entertainment is again timed around meals and dining so don’t worry about missing anything and if you do then theres an additional buffet put on afterwards with lots more food. Be warned, you will leave the ship a LOT heavier than when you boarded.
During the daytime while at sea there are lots going on to entertain. You can take part in the quizzes and games, sit by the pool, use the slides, see a film in the theatre or relax in the spa. Make sure to check out the daily Navigator which details all the times and locations of the events going on. This is on the app that I would highly recommend downloading before you get on the ship, it has so much useful information in it.
Another thing which was great fun and easy to miss was the Midship Detective Agency. You pick up a card From one of two points and have to follow clues and find locations on the ship to activate. They are usually photographs which will turn into games. It was a great way to pass a bit of time although it is a lot of walking around so look at your map and try and complete all the ones nearby first. There was a lot of kids and adults alike completing this. Don’t forget in Disney everyone is a kid, theres nothing to stop you taking part in things like this just because you are an adult.
Theres so much to see and do when on a Disney Cruise Ship, you need to know that you will not do it all and thats okay. You will have an amazing time so remember to relax and just soak in the Disney magic.